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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Religious school closed for safety work
Charity Commission logo
A school has been told to stay shut until safety work is completed after the building was described as a "death trap".

The Charity Commission ordered Wellbury House, a school for Jewish boys in Hertfordshire, to close after the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service condemned safety standards.

Officials from the commission have written to the Torath Chesed Yeshiva Trust, which runs the school, calling for building safety work to be completed on the school in Little Offley before it can re-open.

The new school term was due to begin on 7 October.


We saw very little in the way of fire safety equipment or fire safety instruction

David Rich, Charity Commission

A separate inspection at the school by commission investigators in April revealed a catalogue of safety and fire hazards.

David Rich, who visited the school for the Charity Commission, said: "To my layman's eyes it seemed like a death trap. Conditions were shocking.

"We saw very little in the way of fire safety equipment or fire safety instruction."

In August, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service served an enforcement notice on the charity.

The notice concluded the trust had failed to comply with fire precautions legislation and it detailed a comprehensive schedule of works the trustees must complete.

Hazards included too few fire escapes, insufficient fire-fighting equipment and a lack of emergency lighting.

'Firm commitment'

Mr Rich said: "We must insist that the work is completed before the students return for the new term.

"We require a firm commitment from the trustees to this effect.

"It's our job to ensure that duty of care is being properly exercised."

The Trust was unavailable for comment on Thursday.


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09 May 01 | Scotland
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